Victoria B on 02 November 2020

Had a lovely weekend with my kids. We recycled old boxes into mini graves, which we filled with sweets and small party bag toys (stuff we had left over from old party bags and the like), made two big graves for decoration out of cardboard and duck tape (I've very proud to say I put the words "here layeth sensibility & sanity" on each one, a little joke to make me smile lol) and turned our front garden into a small graveyard. Local kids were so confused, the young preteens who usually go around egging and the like didn't for once. They got a grave each and sat huddled in the field over the road comparing their surprises. I sat on a blanket by the front door while my two ran around the garden in their costumes, calling out to local kids to invite them to help themselves (whenever anyone was in our garden my two stood next to me, keeping socially distanced). I played Halloween music on my phone, played musical statues with my two, Simon says, etc. We had a lot of fun. Chatted to neighbours (one of our neighbours has a little lad who's two and we've arranged to have a dual garden picnic, them in their garden and us in ours, during lockdown which will cheer all our kids up). My youngest has a new habit of, the second the front door opens, he runs out and starts running rings around the garden shouting hello to anyone who passes. He's not very verbal about his emotions, we're working on that (and he's appointment where I was gonna push for ASD assessment has been moved again, now to January) so I think this is his way of telling me he misses people. Bless him. We got two lovely parcels today, one from Covid Realities with a lovely selection of treats to enjoy during the Zoom meeting in a couple days. The other was from a home schooling family we know, they live in a different town so we've not seen them since early in the year. They sent some sweets to my two and we sent some to them. Made my little man very happy. Also spoke to my universal credit advisor today, the usual two week phone call. I didn't sleep a wink last night I was so worried I'd not done enough and would be sanctioned. I told him as much, also asked if sanctions will be paused this lockdown, and he told me I didn't need to worry while covid was still going strong. He understands that they can't force people to put their lives at risk for interviews, so long as I at least apply and take part in phone conversations and the like he won't sanction me he said. Which won't fully ease my anxieties, cos he's just a man and the system is the problem not the advisor, but it helps a little to know that - unless I do something really naughty (which to be frank, just phrasing that is demoralising, I'm an adult trying to do the best I can to feed my family, not a disobedient child. Heck even if my kids are disobedient I don't deny them access to food, utilities, etc. It's immoral ūüėĒ) sorry, I digress - at least I know my money this year is basically assured. So long as I behave that is. Its very triggering being on universal credit. Reminds me a lot of living with my ex. Needing permission, to do certain tasks, etc. before I could tend to my kids, feed them or the like. It's emotionally exhausting. But my kiddies are excited for Christmas, they've enjoyed Halloween and are excited to get the season rolling. The new lockdown means nothing to them as we've been shielding anyway, like there was still a lockdown all along. I think we'll start spending more time in the front garden over the coming weeks though, my youngest really seems to need that right now. My eldest has enjoyed being able to visit the corner shop again for the odd treat, I made sure to turn some of my last payment into coins for her to use at the corner shop, she's great at wearing her mask so it's made her happy. We're focusing on looking forward, to Christmas to toys and fun. Hoping for snow, I'm not keen on snow but it'd make things nicer for kids so I'm hoping for snow to cheer them.

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